The Apprenticeship Levy went live on 6 April, so it is important that the sector is adequately positioned to utilise apprenticeships to contribute to the achievement of the sector’s Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, support the wider national infrastructure plan and, critically, ensure that our industries have a competent, productive and safe workforce.
Our ability to deliver essential services to 65 million people each day is reliant on having the right skills at the right time. The Energy and Utilities Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy says 221,000 new recruits will be needed over the next decade to achieve this. It also documents our commitment to supporting the government’s target of 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020 with high-quality training and assessment.
Energy and Utility Skills has worked with more than 90 organisations and several universities to support employer-led ‘trailblazer’ groups to develop sector-specific apprenticeships.
A key priority has been to establish the Energy and Utilities Independent Assessment Service (EUIAS), a new sector-led assessment and assurance body created by and for the sector.
Every standard mandates that apprentices complete an end-point assessment (EPA), which must be carried out by an independent assessment organisation that is on the Skills Funding Agency’s Register of Approved Apprentice Organisations. The EUIAS is approved to deliver EPA against nine standards to date and will be making further applications in the coming months. We offer a service that begins well before EPA, through delivering training and providing guidance to ensure apprentices, employers and providers fully understand the requirements of each standard.
While the EUIAS cannot mandate the on-programme journey, we prefer to start work early to raise awareness and understanding that helps employers/providers ensure that apprentices meet the eligibility requirements per assessment plan before they enter EPA.
The EUIAS has seen a number of successes: it was the first EPA organisation to secure achievements on the new standards in May 2016, had the first female apprentice at Level 2 and on Smart Meter (Dual Fuel) Installer and the first female to achieve within the engineering sector. Our aim is simple: to build rigorous, robust EPA that is based upon tried, tested and trusted methods within a safety-critical sector. Can we support you?